Our paraments were installed during the pandemic. They were created by a fabric artist – Anne Anderson of Interwoven. They truly are works of art, intended for the glory of God to tell a story about who God is and who Christ Lutheran Church is in relation to God.
You’ll notice that the paraments include all the colors for the seasons of the church year, and so we leave them up year round, and experience the colors and images all at once. You’re encouraged to spend time looking at them, letting your eye roam and linger on the colors and images that draw you in.
Here’s What You May Notice
Blue is associated with Advent, the time before Christmas and the beginning of our church year, and it suggests hope. In our paraments, blue is also associated with the waters of baptism, and you will notice the imagery of waves flowing throughout, both in the blue fabric and other colors. This is meant to indicate that baptism is where we find our entire identity – that it’s not just a day in our life, but in fact, it’s the foundation of our whole life until our journey ends and we live into the promise of the resurrection.
Purple is associated with Lent, the 40 days before Easter and suggests repentance for sin and solemnity. Purple is also associated with the royalty of Jesus as the King of Kings.
White and gold are the colors of both the Christmas and Easter seasons, as well as certain special days like Epiphany of our Lord, All Saints’ Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, Transfiguration of our Lord, Baptism of our Lord, and Holy Trinity Sunday. White calls to mind the purity of the newborn Christ, and to our light and joy in him. White and gold also bring to mind the joy of the resurrection that we celebrate both on Easter and every Sunday.
Red is for the day of Pentecost, because red is the color of fire and the Spirit. On this day, we remember the dramatic day in Jerusalem when the church was born as thousands came to know Christ. We also use red for Reformation Sunday, the day we remember the positive changes that Martin Luther brought to the church, making it more accessible to everyone and calling everyone to the “priesthood of all believers.”
Green is used in the time after Epiphany and the time after Pentecost for its symbolism of our growth in faith as we follow the teachings and ministry of Christ. Both of these seasons are sometimes called “ordinary time.” You’ll notice that a large portion of the right side banner is green, because ordinary time is the longest of our church seasons.
Additional Details on Our Paraments
There is powerful imagery used in the banners, and each has significance in our life of faith:
The white dove on the upper part of the left side banner is a symbol of the Holy Spirit coming to each of us in our baptism and coming to enliven the church to minister in Christ’s name. You’ll notice the color red moving downward in a wave, also indicating the presence of the Spirit.
The seashell is also a symbol of baptism and is sometimes used to scoop the water over the baptized person’s head.
The blue waves are meant to remind us of our life as baptized children of God, as well as to remember that this church survived a catastrophic flood and was resurrected.
The wave imagery flows from left to right across both the back altar table and the front altar table, showing us that baptism permeates every part of our life together.
The altar table paraments are interchangeable between the front and back tables. You’ll notice that during the season of Easter, the front table has the image of an Easter lily, symbolizing new life in the spring and the promise of resurrection. It is surrounded by gold cloth, showing that Easter day is the highest celebration and unique in the entire church year. During the other seasons, you will notice that the front table has the image of a red wave, surrounded by all the other colors, indicating the powerful presence of the Spirit, always moving among us.
On the right banner and the pulpit banner, there are images of people, created very simply, showing just a head and body, no distinguishing features. The figures are non-gendered, non-specific, and allow us to imagine them in many ways. They might stand in for the Holy Family – Mary, Joseph, Jesus. Or the Magi who visited Jesus as a baby. They might be angels. Or the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. Or they are us, moving through life on our faith journey, empowered by the Spirit. Ultimately, the figures are about the primacy of relationship – our relationship with God and with one another.